Endless entertainment! Spectacular adventures! Live animals! Reptiles! Magic! Space travel! Prizes! All free this summer!
Actually, in Highland Lakes libraries, fun and excitement are always free, but during the summer, local librarians reach for the stars to further ignite reading inspiration.
This year’s programs really blast off with an out-of-this-world theme: “A Universe of Stories.” Avid readers tracking their travels through exotic plots and places stand to win some pretty spectacular prizes, too.
The Kingsland Branch Library feeds more than young brains. It serves lunch on Fridays featuring Gatti’s Pizza or Sonic corndogs, to name a couple of menu options. Mad Science Mondays experiment with science, while on Wednesdays, the Lego Club runs wild. In between are games, crafts, puppet shows, magicians, movies, and prizes.
“We reward them for reading,” said April Puryear, who is in charge of the Kingsland library’s summer reading program. “Studies show kids can lose up to three months of learning over the summer if they are not reading, if they are not continually exposing their brains to books.”
Rewards are more than a chill place for books, pizza, and puppet shows. Young readers who track their minutes earn tickets to enter in a variety of library giveaways. The more minutes read, the more chances to win. Prizes range from gift certificates from local restaurants and businesses to a personal library.
“Our top reader receives a solid wood bookcase full of books,” Puryear said. “We used to give a Kindle, but, last year, we decided kids are in front of a screen way too long. We wanted to give them a library in a bookcase that can follow them to their college dorm and throughout their lives.”
The Kingsland library will have six random drawings for other big prizes, but everyone who reads wins something, Puryear said.
The summer reading program at Lakeshore Branch Library in Buchanan Dam is similar. Prizes reflect the “Universe of Stories” theme and include a child-size space costume with rocket ship tent, space Lego kits, two NASA backpacks with waterguns, and outer space-themed splashpads.
The summer reading programs in Kingsland and Buchanan Dam run June 8-26.
New this summer at the Herman Brown Free Library: chapter book storytime! The library is hosting scheduled performers every Wednesday at 10:30 AM from June 5 through July 17. In addition, incentive prizes can be earned by reading. The program will wrap up with a Reading Rewards Celebration for those who have reached the first reading goal and received their reading certificate. The finale is a special field day-style ice cream party to celebrate readers who earned their certificates. Three grand prizes will be announced at the party.
“We are also having a planet contest,” said youth services librarian Rebecca Noah. “Create your own planet and name it. You can create a model or drawing. All will be displayed in the children’s area, and patrons of the library can go through and vote (for their favorites).”
Prizes, shows, storytimes, and contests are all geared toward making summer reading as fun as possible, Noah said.
“Kids get bogged down in school with all the books they have to read,” she explained. “This is for the pleasure of reading. We love to give them encouragement to read what they want. I like kids to be excited about our library.”
Everyone gets a goody bag when the Marble Falls Public Library kicks off its space-themed summer reading program on the last day of school, May 30. Children’s librarian Misty Smith calls it a “bag of incentives.”
Throughout the summer, kids receive tickets for their reading minutes, which are entered into a random drawing for bigger prizes at the program’s conclusion on June 17.
“I want everyone to have a chance, if they are reading, to win something,” Smith said. “It’s not necessarily the top readers; anyone who is reading is in the game.”
The more each child reads, the more chances they have of winning a prize. Tickets are given for every 500 reading minutes. The top prizes are a Samsung Galaxy tablet, a helicopter ride, a Zipline Adventure experience, or an iPod Touch.
You don’t have to be an avid reader to participate. Everyone gets a chance at not only a prize but also an adventure.
“One of our favorite parts of this is helping kids find something to read they really like,” Smith said. “We consider it a challenge.”
She begins by talking to reluctant readers about what they like to do, what they watch on TV, what was the last interesting thing they read.
“It’s really important that kids not be afraid to ask us questions,” she continued. “That’s the key to a good summer reading program: realizing the library is not a place where you have to be quiet all the time and not ‘bother’ people. We want you to bother us!”
LOCAL SUMMER READING PROGRAMS
KINGSLAND BRANCH LIBRARY
125 W. Polk St. in Kingsland, (325) 388-3170
Pre-registration and popsicle party from 10 a.m.-noon Wednesday, June 5
11 AM-noon Fridays in June
- June 7 — The Astonishing Mr. Pitts and his Super Puppets
- June 14 — Hometown Heroes
- June 21 — Wildlife on the Move
- June 28 — Awards with magician Bruce Chadwick
LAKESHORE BRANCH LIBRARY
7346 Texas 261 in Buchanan Dam, (325) 379-1174
2:30 PM Mondays in June and July
- June 17 — Robert Lindsey presents Llano County reptiles with live creatures
- Wednesdays, June 26 and July 31 — Crafts
HERMAN BROWN FREE LIBRARY
100 E. Washington St. in Burnet, (512) 715-5228
Planetarium and activities on May 30 in the AgriLife building, 607 N. Vandeveer St. in Burnet
10:30 AM Wednesdays in June and July
- June 5 — Mad Science
- June 12 — Space Camp
- June 19 — The Astonishing Mr. Pitts and his Super Puppets
- June 26 — Ask an Astronomer
- July 3 — Colonial Day
- July 10 — Space Camp
- July 17 — Ice cream reading rewards party
MARBLE FALLS PUBLIC LIBRARY
101 Main St. in Marble Falls, (830) 693-3023
Registration begins May 30
3 PM Thursdays in June
- June 6 — Performance of “Jack and the Beanstalk”
- June 13 — Mad Science
- June 20 — Wild Things Zoofari
- June 27 — Magician John O’Bryant
SPICEWOOD COMMUNITY LIBRARY
1011 Spur 1091 in Spicewood, (830) 693-7892
10 AM-noon Saturdays, June 1, June 15, July 13, July 27, and August 3
Crafts, storytime, snacks for sixth grade and under. Tickets for prizes given for every library visit. Smaller prizes for participation.
WIN A PRIZE FROM THE PICAYUNE
nonfiction [non-fik-shuh n] noun
Nonfiction explores facts about the world at large, telling true stories about events that really happened. It includes biographies; books on subjects like animals, history, science, and politics; essays; newspapers; and magazines (like The Picayune!)
Win a prize package from The Picayune Magazine for reading nonfiction (and being extra smart because of it). The package includes free tickets to ShowBiz Cinema 8 in Marble Falls.
Librarians in Kingsland, Buchanan Dam, Burnet, and Marble Falls know the details and can help you sign up and read!